31st > August > 1999 Archive

The Register breaking news

Pentium III/mobile at 0.18 micron to arrive fall

Intel Developer Forum Notebook versions of the Pentium III/mobile manufactured using a 0.18 micron process technology will arrive this autumn, Intel said today. Frank Spindler, VP of Intel US mobile division, said that the chip will be released at speeds of up to 500MHz. But, he said, Geyserville would not be incorporated into PIII/mobile parts until processor speeds matched those of desktop chips. He admitted that the Pentium III/mobile had arrived later than expected by saying: "We did not hit our most aggressive schedule." Spindler said the form factor for the mobile Pentium III was likely to be smaller for the equivalent Pentium II/mobile part. The PIII/mobile will arrive fall, which we suppose is around October, but Spindler would not be drawn on a specific date, or on pricing. He said that Intel was considering future notebook chips which would allow its partners to configure notebook machines, but thought the prospects of end users being able to do so was some time away. Geyserville versions are likely to appear in Q1 of next year at speeds of 600MHz and higher, said Spindler. ® Full IDF Summer 99 coverage
Mike Magee, 31 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

FlexATX mobos, Concept PCs make it to market

Motherboard manufacturers have shown designs based on the FlexATX form factor, while a series of outlandish Concept PCs are also gracing the Intel Developer Forum in Palm Springs. Both Gigabyte and MicroStar FlexATX boards are being displayed, but the models only support the Celeron processor so far. Intel would not say when the socketed version of the Pentium III would hit the decks. A number of vendors were also showing a series of outlandishly designed PCs, none of which looked anything like the iMac, for obvious legal reasons. According to Intel, between six and seven companies will release the freakish PCs in September, with others following suit. These are likely to be just as mad, or even madder, than the ones we've seen. For reasons of bandwidth, we only picture one Concept PC here. One looked like an old steam radio but with a strange knob sticking out of it, while another, bright fluorescent jobbie was sat next to it. That prompted one British hack to quip: "It's man and wife. When they get together they produce baby Palm Pilots." Another Concept PC stood in the kitchen of the future, where an Intel engineer talked to it in earnest terms, saying "Computer, tell me what the weather is like on Friday." This is something of a meaningless concept in Palm Springs, where the temperature managed to hit around 120 degrees Fahrenheit today. But our favourite was the Barbie Doll PC, intended for little girls, according to an Intel standperson. No Ken, then? ® RegisterFact Barbie and Ken are not man and wife and do not make Palm Pilots... Full IDF Summer 99 coverage
Mike Magee, 31 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Sun to take on MS Office with free, Websourced Star

Sun claims its purchase of Star Division and its StarOffice suite, due to be announced today, isn't intended to put it into direct competition with Microsoft Office. But its plans for the product could nevertheless pose a very real threat for MS. Sun intends to turn StarOffice into a Web-based application suite which can be run from any browser, anywhere. It will do this via a new version of StarOffice, StarPortal, which will be unveiled in October, and which will allow users to access applications across the Web via a Java applet. Sun is also making the source for StarOffice and StarPortal freely available, and will allow corporate users to distribute the existing version of StarOffice for free. Star Division already allows personal users to download StarOffice for free, but charges for corporate use. Effectively, Sun is proposing to make a flanking move on MS Office. StarOffice is multi-platform, and could have been a viable competitor to Microsoft on the desktop, but giving it away for free, and more important giving it away as a Web application, could be the killer combination. Applications are beginning to move out onto the Web, while the rise of low-resource mobile devices means that more and more users will have a need for fully-specced applications but won't always have the ability to run them locally. At the same time ISPs and portal services are continually looking for ways to add value for their customers, and in that context being able to offer access to a decent productivity suite for free is a no-brainer. Meanwhile Microsoft remains home of the big, baggy application that won't be easily 'Websourced,' and Microsoft's networking software and licensing contracts impede the company's ability to offer Web applications cheaply, never mind for free. Provided Sun doesn't blow this one, it could make a serious dent in Microsoft's applications revenues. ®
John Lettice, 31 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Athlon mobos recalled

Incompatibility problems have hit AMD's latest chip offering, with one motherboard maker pulling its Athlon-ready mobos off the market. The problem affects the Japanese market, where Micro-Star was among the first mobo manufacturers to ship boards for the Athlon - see story. But now it has recalled all its MS-6167 boards, according to reports on the AsiaBizTech news wire. Systems using the MS-6167 mobo are unable to boot up in some instances. This is thought to be due to a lack of compatibility between the Micro-Star board and the AMD chipset. Upgrades to the BIOS and swapped components are being made to get round the problem without having to alter the chipset. According to AsiaBizTech, Japanese system builders received a letter on 21 August, outlining the problems. The letter was co-signed by Micro-Star and AMD. Although AMD has made it clear that its chips and chipsets are not to blame - telling AsiaBizTech that the incompatibility problems were with the components on the boards - the chip maker is splitting the cost of modifying the boards (thought to be around $8 per board) with Micro Star. Modified boards are identified by the shape of the "for the Japanese market" sticker they carry. On the fixed mobos, the sticker is round, whereas on the earlier ones the sticker is star shaped. ®
Sean Fleming, 31 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

MS failed to spot Hotmail hack threat

The security breach in Hotmail that Microsoft says it was only informed about early Monday morning had been discussed for some days in hacker circles. It was written on 7 June and had been "in the wild" since then, so clearly Microsoft is not very vigilant in what is going on in the hacking world. The Register tested and verified the chink in Hotmail's armour yesterday. Despite Microsoft's claim that "the issue has been resolved and MSN Hotmail is currently operating normally" it was still possible to look at private email hours later because Microsoft was still fixing each server. But surely SMS was supposed to be able to propagate fixes like this? Microsoft's problem appears to be in its back end. Certainly Yahoo was gloating that Yahoo Mail doesn't have "back-door entry". The hack is apparently the work of eight hackers at "Hackers Unite" in Sweden, who claimed: "We did not do this hack to destroy, we want to show the world how bad the security on Microsoft really is". The hack was first reported by Swedish newspaper Expressen and was mirrored quite widely. Microsoft PR called the problem a "service issue" and claimed that "very advanced knowledge of Web development languages" was needed to accomplish the hack, but those who know about these things, like Richard Smith of Phar Lap, had a different view: "It's trivial," he said, "it's just some HTML code." It appears it was just nine lines of code it turns out. Microsoft has been very secretive about moving the bought-in Hotmail from Unix to NT. It is however likely that dozens if not hundreds of additional servers are being deployed. Hotmail response time was diabolically poor until a couple of months ago when additional servers were deployed. The value of Microsoft dropped several billion dollars yesterday, but the real damage is to Microsoft's credibility in ecommerce and the enterprise. ®
Graham Lea, 31 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

European DRAM prices soar

DRAM prices have continued to soar in August, surpassing even the most optimistic of last month’s forecasts. 64Mb chip prices shot up to $8.20 by last Friday, compared to $5.50 at the end of July. The bank holiday weekend was again a scorcher – with GSI quoting chip prices as high as $8.70. This leap has taken even those who work in the DRAM industry by surprise. Last month, Alan Stanley, Dane-elec general manager, said he did not expect 64Mb chip prices to exceed $6 in August. According to Dean Johnson, operations director at GSI, the UK's biggest memory broker, no-one can "see an end to the price rises. In the Far East, some manufacturers have the opinion that chip prices could go as high as $9 by the end of the week." Module prices were standing at around $68 for a 64MB DIMM (PC 100) at the end of last week, according to components distributor Dane-elec. Many expected prices to soften over the weekend, but today 64MB modules continued to climb to $70, according to GSI. This compares to around $34 in the first week of July, and around $45 at the end of July. Microtronica said prices had been rising daily, with the biggest spurt in mid-August. And these prices, which show a reversal in the year’s downward trend, are expected to carry on gaining ground into September. By mid-September, module prices are expected to have clawed their way back to their January 1999 level - around $75. But Microtronica put a ceiling of $90 on the price. GSI’s Johnson noted that supply was not brilliant, but then neither was demand. "OEMs are delaying orders – they are nervous because prices usually fall after they rise. "But demand is slowly getting better because everyone’s hand-to-mouth. People can’t wait for prices to drop," he said.®
Linda Harrison, 31 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Intel to climb aboard unmetered bandwagon?

Intel has held a secret meeting with the Campaign for Unmetered Telecommunications (CUT), The Register can reveal. The meeting was held last Monday behind closed doors although no details about what was discussed have emerged. One explanation for Intel's interest in CUT might lie in the fact that the chipmaker is concerned that the continued high cost of Net access in Britain is stifling PC sales. No one from Intel was available for comment before press time. Many Net users will hope that Intel's interest in the pressure group will bring yet another corporate heavyweight to the ring willing to fight for cheaper Web access in Britain. Either way, the meeting is further proof of CUT's growing stature as an Internet lobby group and its importance as a powerful voice among the British Net community. In June AOL UK confirmed it had held meetings with CUT and had secured corporate membership. AOL UK also backed a Europe-wide strike by Net users and organised by CUT calling for the introduction of flat-fee or unmetered access to the Internet. A spokesman for CUT refused to confirm or deny the story. ® Daily net finance news from The Register
Tim Richardson, 31 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Net child porn users searched for real-life abuse

Online child pornophiles are to be investigated for real world child abuse, under new Government guidelines. The proposals come as part of the updated 'Working Together' programme, set up in the wake of the Cleveland "satanic" child abuse scandal in the early 1980s. Police will be expected to establish if people convicted of trafficking or using computer child porn have contact with children, and to cross check in case any children been flagged as at risk of abuse. The report now recommends that all cases of adult domestic violence now be scrutinised for evidence of child abuse, and also acknowledges that children can be at risk from their peers. A spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers commented: "The new guidelines will provide a firm foundation for future working practices." Junior Health Minister, John Hutton, said that the document would continue stress the importance of shared responsibility. He said that it set out a clear framework for health professionals, teachers, social workers and police to work with families, to protect vulnerable children. ® The Register's Full Coverage/child pornography
Lucy Sherriff, 31 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Computer science ‘cheats’ exposed at second Scottish university

A bunch of student cheats has been exposed thanks to a computer programme developed by boffins at Glasgow University. This is the second time this summer that a Scottish university has used software to detect academic trickery among its protégés The programme analysed the work of over 200 computing science students at Glasgow University. After thorough testing, which involved 26,000 comparisons between course work, it found that 59 students appeared to have been copying answers, Saturday’s Guardian newspaper reports. The university, which had previously warned all 230 fresher students on the course that the new programme would track down any cheating, let 11 of those accused off the hook. But 25 had their marks downgraded, and a further unlucky 16 were reported to the Senate to be disciplined (i.e. sent to the headmaster’s office for a good thrashing). These first year students were caught out by a programme which is based on software that hunts for similarities in genes and DNA. The programme is able to spot offenders by rooting out deliberate differences made in plagiarised work. Rob Irving, who developed the fraudster-finding technology, said his programme had alerted lecturers to similarities. Coursework was then checked by hand. Dr Irving now plans to make a fortune out of students who prefer to use their afternoons getting lager down their necks instead of getting their heads down in the library. He wants to sell his Big Brother IT masterpiece to other universities.®
Linda Harrison, 31 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

S3 unveils Savage 2000

S3 yesterday took the wraps off its upcoming Savage 2000 part, which the company claimed is the first 0.18 micron graphics acceleration chip. The Savage 2000's feature set is impressive. The chip will sport S3's integrated transform and lighting engine, the company's texture compression technology, dual pixel/dual texture pipeline, 128-bit memory bus supporting up to 64MB video RAM, hardware bump mapping, anisotropic filtering, an 8-bit stencil buffer, support for 16-, 24- and 32-bit z-buffers, DVD playback with motion comp. and sub-picture blending, and support for all HDTV resolutions. That said, it will need to be impressive to compete not only with Nvidia's next-generation part, the NV10, due to be announced later today, but with 3dfx's upcoming Voodoo 4, with its T-buffer technology -- capable, 3dfx claims, of adding movie-standard special effects to games. Savage 2000-based boards are set to ship before Christmas and will include flat-panel display support, AGP 2x and 4x, and a 350MHz RAMDAC. The chips themselves will ship in two varieties: the plain Savage 2000, with a 143-150MHz core and memory speeds up to 166MHz, and the 2000 Plus, which boosts the core speed into the 166-200MHz range and supports memory speeds up to 200MHz. ®
Tony Smith, 31 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Screaming.net takes legal cudgels against ‘copycat’ ISP

The telco behind Screaming.net is threatening legal action against Manchester-based Telnet Ltd unless it withdraws CDs and all marketing materials promoting Telnet's GreatXscape ISP. Surrey-based LocalTel alleges Telnet has infringed its copyright and that it has made claims about its service that are in breach of the Trades Descriptions Act. "LocalTel has today put Telnet Limited of Sale, Manchester under notice for infringement of LocalTel's copyright," the company said in a statement issued on Friday. "LocalTel has also informed Telnet that, by their claiming to be the UK's first nationally available free time on-line Internet Service Provider, they are acting in breach of the Trade Descriptions Act 1968. "LocalTel has required Telnet to withdraw from circulation all CDs, packaging and any marketing or advertising information that may bear the false or misleading statement." LocalTel launched Screaming.net at the end of April 1999 in conjunction with electrical retailer Tempo as the UK's first Internet access service that offered free time on-line. Less than a fortnight ago Telnet launched GreatXscape, a similar service backed by Planet Online, prompting some to describe it as a Screaming.net clone. A spokesman for GreatXscape said he was unaware of any legal action and was unable to confirm whether the Manchester ISP had received any official correspondence from LocalTel. ® Related Story Toll-free ISP in orbit around Planet Daily net finance news from The Register
Tim Richardson, 31 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Bowie flogs download album

David Bowie is to be "the first major recording artist" to release an album online, before it goes on sale in the shops. (Or so his record company claims. What would Public Enemy have to say about that?) The techie friendly star has already set up his own ISP, Bowienet. The album will be available online in three weeks time -- a fortnight ahead of general release. But just because it is online doesn't mean its free. Fans will have to hand over credit card details before being able to download the album. And before ideas of free copies for friends get hatched, it is worth mentioning that there is an electronic copyright written into the album. The singer will sacrifice chart success by selling online. CIN, the body responsible for producing the official chart, does not recognise online sales. Bowie says that he hopes that by selling his album online, he will blaze the trail for online sales' inclusion in charts. He told the Daily Mail: "I couldn't be more pleased to have the opportunity of moving the music industry closer to the process of making digital download available as the norm, not the exception." ® Daily net finance news from The Register
Lucy Sherriff, 31 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Toshiba to sell chip JV to partner Motorola

Toshiba has confirmed it is taking to Motorola about selling the US giant its share of the two companies' joint chip production operation. The Japanese facility employs 1400 people, and is has racked up debts in the order of Y60 billion. Motorola would use the operation as the staging point for the sale of its chips to the Far East. In July, Toshiba agreed to buy IBM's 50 per cent stake in the two companies' US-based DRAM joint venture, Dominion. It already has a DRAM JV in development with Fujitsu. ®
Tony Smith, 31 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Corba Component Model gets thumbs up

It would have been a big surprise if the OMG had not approved the Corba Component Model (CCM) specification yesterday in San Jose. The final nod will come in November at the OMG's board meeting. CCM is based on CORBA (Common Object Request Broker Architecture), which is the most widely used cross platform glue. CCM is programming language and platform independent, and can integrate Java, COBOL, CM/DCOM, C & C++, Ada and Smalltalk. It will interoperate with Enterprise JavaBeans (which is a sub-set) and ActiveX. This means that Java and other code can coexist very cosily on the CORBA platform at last. CORBA 3, as it had been known, is about a year later than expected, but for those concerned with enterprise application integration, the trend du jour, it should be a welcome development. Microsoft withdrew from cross-platform compatibility some time ago, so it is unlikely that it will be able to corrupt CORBA in the same way as it attempted with Java. The CORBA 3 spec includes Internet integration, quality of service control, and CORBA components and scripting. Gripping stuff. ®
Graham Lea, 31 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Net/TV convergence myth exploded

The US online market is not behaving as predicted. For example, there is no evidence that the TV and Internet markets are converging, according to a study by NPD and Iconoclast. Some 57 per cent of Americans can watch TV and surf at the same time, and 86 per cent of the group do so and are much influenced to visit a site by an advertisement on TV. These imaginative surfers are spending 35 per cent of their time visiting just 50 sites, according to Nielsen/Net Ratings, up from 27 per cent last year. The top-ten US sites now get 20 per cent of surfing time, and a third of them arrive there via AOL. What is disappointing for ecommerce is the low conversion rate from surfers to buyers in the USA. According to the Internet Commerce Briefing, the rate is just 2.7 per cent, and only one-in-three users had made a purchase online. What is surprising is that 65 per cent claim credit card security to be a concern, and 58 per cent cited personal privacy. There appears to be a reluctance by Internet merchants to recognise that many people do not have the money to make a purchase, and that they are, if you will, window shopping. Meanwhile, IDC is saying that Web-based procurement is more than doubling each year, and that last year's $147 million will become $5 billion by 2003. We doubt that. US Internet marketers continue to beat the drum that the European market is backward, but it seems not to have occurred to them that many of the goods and services offered are not wanted or are too expensive after delivery costs and tax are taken into account. Cultural differences are also very significant. Some of the wilder forecasts concern the Asian market. The Yankee Group is saying that the number of Asian users will go from a present 38 million to 374 million by 2005, with China passing Japan (14 million users today) in the number of users by 2001, when China is predicted to reach 40 million users. We doubt all this too. Many of these predictions are made by people in the US who dine at McDonalds, drink Coca Cola, and have little experience with the reality of developing markets. If they drank beer, smoked, and munched Scotch eggs they might have a better understanding. But that's market research for you. ®
Graham Lea, 31 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Poet's daughter was first programmer… NOT

A new biography of Ada (an abbreviation of Augusta), Countess of Lovelace, by Benjamin Woolley will perpetuate the myth that she was the world's first programmer. There are several problems with this, principally that Charles Babbage himself fulfilled that role, and that he was most notably assisted by his son Herschel, and possibly his two younger sons as well. Ada Lovelace's role was essentially to review some of Babbage's earlier work. Ada was the daughter of Byron, but did not know him as her mother was separated from him five weeks after her birth. She is described as a mathematician, but her mathematical accomplishment was minimal. In 1843 she translated from French a paper by the Italian General Meabrea (later prime minister of Italy), who had heard Babbage lecture in Turin on plans for his analytical engine a couple of years earlier. When she showed the paper to Babbage, he suggested she added her own notes, which she did, copiously - but they are rambling screeds of limited value. It's a matter of definition as to whether Babbage's engine could be programmed in any modern sense of the term. It appears that Ada suggested to Babbage that the machine be used for calculating Bernoulli numbers. Ada characterised Pascal's machine as a calculator, and of little use, while Babbage's engine was the real thing - except that it never worked in his lifetime and was only completed a few years ago. It is in the Science Museum in South Kensington, although friends of ex-MS head of research Nathan Myhrvold will be able to see his in due course, since he bought one at the museum shop. Woolley shows that Ada was a considerable flirt, a gambler unable to win despite her application of mathematics to the subject, and somewhat addicted to opium. So awful was Ada's writing that Woolley has had to paraphrase it. She died when she was 36, at the same age as her father, and also from cancer. Her modern incarnation is the Ada language, named after her, and developed by the US Department of Defense in 1979. ®
Graham Lea, 31 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Camino mobo pix found on Web

Our friends at Korean hardware site Kbench have posted some pix of i820 Camino mobos. As revealed here earlier, the boards will become available on the 27th of September, although there is still no firm indication of how many manufacturers will jump on the bandwagon. Taiwanese firms have been reluctant to follow the i810 route, causing shortages of the BX/ZX chipsets. ®
Mike Magee, 31 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Nvidia unveils ‘256-CPU Cray’ GeForce 3D chip

Nvidia today announced its next-generation graphics acceleration chip, the GeForce 256, the part previously known by the codename 'NV10', a move that sees the company break away from its well-known TNT and slightly less well-known Riva brandnames. The launch also marked the arrival of the first 256-bit graphics accelerator, delivering an "order of magnitude increase" in power, according to Nvidia. As revealed by The Register, the GeForce contains nearly 23 million transistors, capable of generating 15 million polygons per second (sustained) and over 480 million pixels per second. The part sports an integrated geometry transformation engine -- addressing what is widely seen as the next 'target' for graphics processor functionality now they've got shovelling out polygons sorted out -- an integrated dynamic lighting engine, and the first four-pixel rendering process. However, all these features are, to a greater or lesser extent, offered by S3's Savage 2000, announced yesterday, so Nvidia may have to revise its claims slightly. That said, the GeForce is still likely to out-perform the Savage 2000 considerably. The part supports DirectX 7.0 features, including cube environment mapping, projective textures and vertex blending. It supports up to 128MB of video RAM and AGP 4x Fast Write mode. Boards based on the part will contain -- like the Savage 2000 -- a 350MHz RAMDAC for resolutions up to 2048 x 1536 (75MHz). One of the key elements of the GeForce launch, however, wasn't a feature of the chip itself but its branding. Nvidia stressed that the chip is what it calls a "graphics processing unit (GPU)". That's a term that can be applied to almost every 3D graphics accelerator punched out since the Voodoo 1, but Nvidia's use of the phrase is designed to stress the company's role as a provider of chips, not boards. That's in marked contrast to its main rivals, ATI, S3 and 3dfx, all of who effectively produce their own boards -- ATI always has, 3dfx bought STB for the purpose, and S3 is in the processing of buying Diamond Multimedia. Unlike the others, S3 is maintaining a more open relationship with Diamond, but it could yet irritate board vendors like Creative and Guilliemot as much as 3dfx's STB acquisition did. Nvidia clearly wants to avoid such conflict, and its GPU branding is as much about showing it doesn't want to tread on board vendors' toes as pushing its own chip-design expertise. Of course, this doesn't rule out a move into the board market on Nvidia's part, but it should keep the OEMs happy until it's ready to do so. ® Related Stories Acer to integrate nVidia technology into chip set nVidia Q2 revenue rockets up 543 per cent 3dfx stock drops on ongoing losses
Tony Smith, 31 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

NGIO, Future IO war over – System IO arrives

Intel Developer Forum The battle between two sets of computing giants to create the next generation of input and output is over. Craig Barrett, CEO of Intel, said that agreement had been reached between the proponents of Future IO and NGIO. The new specification will be called System IO and has backing from all players in the dispute. Compaq, HP and IBM had lined up behind Future IO while Intel and Sun had backed NGIO. But now, according to Barrett, the two camps have declared to smoke the pipe of peace and a merged technology is now likely to appear in the year 2001. At a later conference call, John Miner, VP of Intel's communication products group, and Tom Braddage, director of the IBM Netfinity division, outlined the roadmap for System IO. Braddage said that the parties will work together to produce a common specification for System IO by the end of this year. He confirmed that systems would be likely to appear in the year 2001. He said: "It is in the companies' interest to produce a unified specification. The goals are aligned and the momentum is quite heavy." ® Full IDF Summer 99 coverage
Mike Magee, 31 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Intel's Barrett shows Linux running on Merced silicon

Intel Developer Forum As exclusively revealed here two weeks ago, Intel has managed to produce working silicon for the Merced microprocessor. One box ran Linux Apache while another ran 64-bit Win2000, for a while... Craig Barrett, CEO of Intel, reserved a demonstration of two machines for the end of his keynote speech. He introduced the head of the Merced project, Gady Singer, who said that the company had produced working silicon only a matter of weeks ago, but by now had thousands of engineering samples available. Simulated OS software was now being ported to the real silicon, said Barrett. HP/UX and Monterey are next on the list. Barrett positioned Merced and the IA-64 architecture as the infrastructure for the burgeoning Internet. He claimed that only five per cent of the capacity needed by the Internet was available so far. Intel demonstrated Linux and Windows 2000 running on two Merced machines using silicon. The Win64 box was running graphics 64-bit applications and a 64-bit version of Windows 2000, which, however, came up with a message saying the evaluation period had expired. That caused Barrett to quip: "I've enough money to keep it going for another three minutes." The Internet and its growth both is business and the home formed the main thrust of Barrett's speech, as he repeated forecasts showing that the worth of e-business in the US would be a trillion dollars by the year 2002. That, he said, represented a tenth of the US GDP. Barrett said that while most publicity focused on business to customer transactions, such as Ebay and Amazon, the bulk of the growth -- 80 per cent or so -- will be business to business transfers. But Barrett also said that access for consumers to the Internet had to be easier, and coined the phrase "e-home" to demonstrate the concept. He said that joint initiatives between Microsoft and Intel meant PCs would become easier, with many homes having different x.86 based appliances throughout. Intel's task, said Barrett, was to provide the building blocks across the board, whether it be networking, server, mobile or PC. He also said Intel expected to produce its first Coppermine processors in volume in October, and suggested that a 700MHz processor might be available at that time. ® Register666Fact When we saw the press release Intel put out a little later, the headline was Microsoft and Intel announce 64-bit Windows running on Merced processor. The sheer spinola of it all... See also Merced silicon happens: Linux runs, NT doesn't Intel to demo Merced silicon tomorrow Full IDF Summer 99 coverage
Mike Magee, 31 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Intel pushes Rambus hard

Intel Developer Forum Senior Intel VP Pat Gelsinger said today that Rambus would ramp in quantity throughout the rest of this year, with 46 types of RIMM (Rambus inline memory modules) available from seven vendors. In his keynote speech at the Intel Developer Forum in Palm Springs, Gelsinger also gave details of the delayed Camino i820 chipset, and said it was on track for its new launch date, tipped to be the end of September by The Register The i820 chipset supports Rambus modules, has a 133MHz FSB, AGP 4x and ICH/ATA66. (See earlier story, with pictures, here). Gelsinger said Intel is on track for its Coppermine technology, and revealed that a 666MHz processor was part of the plan. To his credit, and to our chagrin, he changed the number 666 to 667 a second later. He said that Coppermine was expected in Q4, but in an earlier keynote, CEO Craig Barrett suggested that October could be the date. Gelsinger also focused on Intel's e-home push, and showed a number of i820 and i810 based Concept (legacy free) PCs. Those included machines from AST, Daewoo, and NEC. Many Concept PCs will ship before the end of the year, said Gelsinger. Intel literature in the showcase area of the forum shows S370 socketed Pentium IIIs as part of the platform, as previously revealed here. ® Full IDF Summer 99 coverage
Mike Magee, 31 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Intel 810e to slow down Rambus adoption

Intel's introduction of the 810e chipset will slow down introduction of Direct Rambus DRAM, said Wayne Jane, of Acer group affiliate, Apacer Technology Inc, a Taipei-based memory module manufacturer. Intel is strongly promoting the Rambus memory technology, however serious delays and cost problems have apparently forced the company to provide support for an alternative system, PC 133 SDRAM (Synchronous DRAM), in the 810e chipset. Ironically, earlier this year, Intel took legal action against a Taiwanese company, VIA Technologies, after it introduced a chipset with PC 133 SDRAM support - the case is still unresolved. If the cost of Rambus chips cannot be reduced they will be impossible to sell in large quantities, said Mr. Jane, who is in charge of product marketing at Apacer. "Now the price is about 5 times SDRAM, and the performance is not so good." Independent tests have shown some aspects of Rambus performance to be disappointing. "In my personal opinion,", said Mr. Jane, "I think PC 133 SDRAM will occupy a bigger part of the market than Rambus [next year]". Low cost PCs will drive the market, he believes. Apacer buys memory chips and builds them into memory modules, which are then sold to computer manufacturers and dealers. Jim Sadler, spokesman for another Taiwanese module manufacturer, Transcend Information Inc., agreed that the popularity of Rambus would depend on cost. "If the price is right, we believe that our Rambus memory modules will be extremely popular next year," he said. Samsung and LG of Korea are the only companies able to supply Rambus chips in volume this quarter, according to Mr. Jane. Other manufacturers include Toshiba, Siemens and Micron Technology. In Taiwan, Winbond Electronics and Vanguard are have licensed Rambus technology. Winbond Electronics will have engineering samples at the end of this year. Vanguard's schedule is still unclear, say industry sources - the company's spokesman was unavailable to comment yesterday. The market for Rambus products will probably be more mature at the end of this year, said Winbond spokesman, Mike Liu. "Right now it's not the mainstream of DRAM products" "There will be two selling peaks, for Rambus products," said Wayne Jane, "one is from now until the end of this year... for OEM [Original Equipment Manufacturer] customer samples." The surge in demand for samples will begin at the end of September when Intel releases a new Pentium III CPU that works well with Rambus. "The second peak will be in the second half of next year... for system use" ®
Simon Burns, 31 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Seven Dramurai™ say they will make Rambus cheaper

Intel Developer Forum Intel presided over the foundation of the RDRAM Implementers Forum today, with members vowing to reduce the cost of Rambus memory. At a press conference in Palm Springs, Pat Gelsinger, senior VP of Intel's desktop division introduced representatives of seven memory manufacturers, each of which has taken the Rambus pledge. The inaugural members of the Seven Dramurai™ are Hyundai, Infineon, Micron, NEC, Samsung, Toshiba and Intel itself, represented by Farhad Tabrizi, Jan du Preez, Don Baldwin, Kenji Tokuyama, Yoongae Rha, Shozo Saito, and Pat "Kicking" Gelsinger. Geoff Tate, president of Rambus, was also there to answer questions from the press. He said: "The DRAM companies have worked together to deliver Rambus and we're ready for production. Rambus memories run eight times faster. It's as if we had moved from the 486 to the Pentium III in one leap." But Tate said his company would not reduce the royalties it is collecting from manufacturers to help cut costs. That, he said, would make little difference to the cost of the parts. "There's no change in the royalties," he said. "The royalties are a small percentage of these costs." Manufacturing companies have already paid Rambus to licence memory products. Instead, the Seven Dramurai™ will work together to reduce packaging and testing costs. But a representative from Samsung estimated that the premium of RIMMs over memory such as PC-133 will be 25 per cent by the middle of next year. Dell came onto the stage to say that it was producing a system using RIMMs. But, he stressed, it was a high end system used for mission critical applications. Rambus technology, he said, would appeal to the corporate marketplace. Gelsinger confirmed that Intel will reveal its thoughts after evaluating PC-133 SDRAM tomorrow. But he gave no indication as to which way Chipzilla™ will swing. ® Full IDF Summer 99 coverage
Mike Magee, 31 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

VGA dead: not many end users out of pocket

Intel Developer Forum The bells were tolling for the VGA standard today as Intel and a large claque of manufacturers said the digital video interface (DVI) will appear and real soon now. And it won't cost very much to buy systems incorporating the interface once it's taken off, major players averred. At the Intel Developer Forum in Palm Springs, representatives from both Viewsonic and IBM rolled out their plans for displays using the interface, which is part of an initiative sponsored by the chip giant. At Intel's Showcase, there are dozens of monitors using DVI, which turns over all analogue functions to the monitor itself. Marc McConnaughey, VP of technology and sourcing at display company Viewsonic, admitted that monitors will cost between 10 to 15 per cent more than the current analogue standard. But, after a year or so, parity will be reached, he claimed, after the whole industry adopts DVI. And Ed Anwyl, brand marketing manager of Flat Panel Monitors at IBM, said that Big Blue has already incorporated DVI into one of its Aptiva models. It plans to do the same with its desktops, but supplying "dongles" for large companies which still have legacy equipment in house. According to McConnaughey, DVI based CRT (cathode ray tube) systems will deliver crisper and sharper images to end users. There is another twist to this story and Hollywood is involved. According to Steve Spina, Intel's strategic initiative manager, VGA was given a waiver by the large film studios worried about their films being shown on displays. But the parties in the Digital Display Working Group, which are legion, have now agreed on technology which will protect Hollywood content. It is, therefore, a win-win situation for manufacturers and Hollywood. ® Full IDF Summer 99 coverage
Mike Magee, 31 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Intel leaves 1394 out in cold, USB 2.0 exposed to desert glare

Intel Developer Forum While Intel continued to create a song and a dance about the Universal Serial Bus (USB) at this week's forum, behind the scenes political infighting was threatening to ruin the party. The pugilists in the fight are the IEEE1394 Firewire standard and USB 2.0, heartily endorsed by Pat Gelsinger both at last spring's IDF and the one being held this week. At his keynote speech this morning, Gelsinger enthused about the merits of USB 2.0 and if 1394 was mentioned at all, it was in a hushed whisper -– not 'Kicking' Pat's style in the slightest. The USB Promoter Group is saying that the bus can be moved upwards to 360-480Mbps, "thirty or forty times" faster than version 1.1. It is more cautious than Kicking Pat on when it will see the light of day, however. A new spec is to be submitted to its own conference this October. Pat says it will see the light of day in the middle of next year. That according to just about every man+dog wandering around the Palm Springs convention centre, is highly unlikely. A reliable source close to Lucent has seen ne'er a sniff of silicon and the vague estimates touted by the USB trade group are unusual for technology companies, which by and large use multiply, add and divide better than your average schoolkid. Divide, however, could be the name of the game. The 1394 Firewire guys, languishing in a lonely corner of the show and seemingly neglected by Chipzilla, would not comment on other stories we have heard and not made up. Those clever people that work with 1394 already have achieved speeds of 800 and have a design spec for 1.6Mbps up and running, we are given to understand. Further, these designs are being built into motherboards and it is more than highly conceivable that we will find some mobos with a USB port next to a FireWire 2.0 port. One colleague we discussed the matter with put it succinctly. The fact is, he said, that USB is tightly tied to Intel x.86 architecture. FireWire doesn't need to be. If you wanted to sell more and faster processors, which bus architecture would you move to? Intel is uncannily silent on this matter, despite the fact FireWire 2.0 is oh so nearly there and USB 2.0 is uncannily non-existent, as yet. ® Full IDF Summer 99 coverage
Mike Magee, 31 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Chipzilla leapfrogs Chimpzilla in desert

IDF The CEO of Intel, Craig Barrett, who had earlier been described by underling Patrick Gelsinger as "the ruthless dictator of Intel", today showed he was only human by thumbing his nose at AMD. During his keynote speech, Barrett told Gelsinger that Intel had to release a 700MHz Coppermine chip in October. That piece of forward thinking is intended to galvanise Intel engineers into action and at the same time put the wind up AMD, in the ruthless game of "my chip is faster than yours". However, even if Intel does succeed in doing Cumine at 700MHz in October, there's no doubt, as reported here earlier, that AMD will already have scaled its Athlon K7 up beyond that point. It's a game of marchitectureand Intel is a notoriously ruthless player in that field. As "Kicking Pat" bravely pointed out to the audience of 2,700 developers, press and analysts in Palm Springs Desert, Barrett's catchphrase is: "If you don't agree with me, you haven't thought about it long enough." Gulp. ®
Mike Magee, 31 Aug 1999